Important Values to Hold as an IT Professional

21 07 2011

There are lots of Information Technology professions out there such as programmers, system analysts, software engineers, database administrators, network administrators, and Chief Information Officers. Those professions are basically engineering professions that focus on the processing of information and data. Because of that, some of my personal statements of professional ethics are based on the code of ethics from NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers) and AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals). Here are some of the values that an IT Professional should hold.

Firstly, I believe that an IT professional should be trustworthy. IT professionals usually have access to a lot of customer data. I think they should not use customer data for personal interest and violate the privacy and confidentiality of customer data.

Secondly, I believe that IT professionals should diligently keep their personal knowledge and expertise up to date and use it when needed. IT is a fast growing field, therefore professionals should constantly hone their skills and knowledge on new and emerging technologies.

Thirdly, I believe that IT professionals should not misrepresent or withhold information about the capabilities of software and hardware. This is important because companies needs to use the full capability of the equipment that they have bought.

Fourthly, IT professionals should not take advantage of the incompetency of others in IT. IT is very sophisticated and requires lots of logical and analytical thinking abilities. The ability to understand how computers think and compute is also required. These skills are not usually learned in other fields, especially when technological terms are used. Because normal technology users do not have these specialized skills, they are more unaware thus making their confidential and private data easily obtained by more skillful technology users.

Fifthly, IT professionals should only perform services only in their areas of knowledge. They should take full responsibility of the projects they are involved in only if they have qualifications obtained from experience and educational background in their related field.

Lastly, IT professionals should be able to respect intellectual property and copyrights. They should not plagiarize works of other people, especially digital forms of music, program code, video, audio, articles, and etc.. They should purchase commercial software legally for personal use or as tools in their company projects. They should also ask for permission from the owner of a software property for use in their publications or projects.

Above is the word cloud for this article generated from wordle.com. I am not surprised that it does not really represent my beliefs well. However, there are some words that occur quite frequent such as professional, use, personal, information, knowledge, customer, data, software, projects, professions, and believe. All these words are just the words that I use frequently in the article and do not represent well my ideas.

The words professional and knowledge might mean something. It means that professionalism and knowledge is related to expertise and how well someone performs, which I think is crucial for being a good IT professional. The words personal, customer, information, data, software, and projects are things that IT engineers handle in their career. Most of the things involving morality in the IT world goes around privacy, confidentiality, security, honesty, and recognition of intellectual property. So no wonder those words occur frequently.





How is online advertising and outreach similar to and different from traditional forms of advertising and outreach?

20 07 2011

Nowadays, we can see advertisements throughout web pages in the internet. These ads are digital forms of the old traditional ads. There are similarities and differences between online forms of advertising and outreach and their traditional forms.

The layout of the media used in digital media and traditional media is basically the same. In traditional media such as newspapers and magazines, there are spaces that are rent by advertising companies to display their brand name in the media. This is the same in web pages. In fact, ads have been the primary source of income for lots of web companies.

Both traditional and online advertisements target a certain group of people with specific interests, and in a certain scope. To attract the targeted audience, both traditional and online ads must give value to advertisement appearance, while still maximizing any space they have for advertising.

Then what differs online ads from traditional ones? Firstly, internet and the Web 2.0 offers interactivity, which is implemented in the form of users being able to post comments and testimonials for a certain product in a web site. This makes it easy for companies to prove that what they are selling is true and people have enjoyed its good values.

Secondly, web technology and social media allows users to have more customization. For instance, in Amazon, the website automatically detects user’s preferences for certain types of goods. These will be recorded by the program and Amazon will offer goods based on user’s preferences the next time they login.

Thirdly, since websites are digital electronic information pages, companies do not need to pay costs that are usually expensive in the real world. These include transportation costs, production costs, maintenance costs, and construction costs.

Last but not least, online ads can take advantage of what we call the power of the network economy. In the information society, products and services have value that is created and added through the use of social network of other companies, businesses, and users. In this society, information is inexpensive and value is shared in the connectivity of the network. Now companies do not need to only rely on themselves to advertise their goods, but they can let users and other businesses promote and spread the good values of their products to other users and businesses.





What does “privacy” and “personal data” mean in the age of social media?

20 07 2011

Privacy and personal data are related terms that have been popular issues in the world of social networking. There have been cases of people being stalked, credit card numbers being hijacked, email accounts being spammed, and personal data being used for malicious acts by irresponsible people. All of these problems, in small or larger proportions, are either caused by the lack of privacy options provided by the social networking website, or by the user’s own mistake of publishing personal data. However, since most social media sites now offer privacy settings, it is the sole responsibility of the user to pay extra attention to their privacy.

Personal data in social media are data that associates with a single individual in the internet, or in a more specific term, a social media user. The data can be full name, address, phone number, age, email, and etc.. In some social networking sites such as facebook, you can even publish your religious views and political ideologies. These personal data are actually sensitive information and users should be cautious in publishing these information. The reason is, social media are actually “virtual public” places in the internet. It is public because every social media user especially your friends can read your personal data. Moreover, there is a probability that your “friends” in social media are really not good friends at all. Some of your friends might have bad intentions, like using your personal data to register for something that can cause defamation. Some of them might be spammers, that hunt for email usernames and send spam to your account or sell those usernames to other spammers. Other than that, you can even be hated by certain people because your religious or political views are against them.

Privacy is another popular term in the world of social media. It is the responsibility of the social media user to maintain their privacy. However, there is a bit of irony going on about privacy. Basically, in the real world, interactions between humans are originally private. It means that usually if we talk to another person, the conversation will usually be heard by the two people talking, unless someone else decides to overhear your conversation. If we want to make our communications public, there is extra effort required for example, the need to speak louder or get a microphone and speaker. In the contrary, communications in a social media website are basically public because people can see your posts. If you want to make your conversations private, you need extra effort such as setting your privacy settings or being picky in choosing the words you use for status updates.

Now the problem is, when users start to feel comfortable in posting their status updates, they tend to forget to be cautious in selecting which posts are private and which are not. Some users, especially teenagers, deliberately post pictures of them getting drunk in a party. Some write inappropriate status updates and suddenly their parents or teachers read it then they start to get worried.

Users can prevent privacy breach by setting who can read their status updates or by being selective in choosing their friends. However, there is a gray area between being social and being private. You cannot be social if you set only you or your friends that are able to read your posts. You cannot tell people about yourself if you do not show your profile and personal data, resulting in many people not interested in you. These causes social media users to only add friends that they have known in real life. If everyone is doing this, then that means there is no such thing as social media. We might as well call it private media. It is a private place for people who got to know each other by socializing in real life. However, no matter what you call it private media or social media, taking precautions by not publishing sensitive information is a good practice.





What is social media and what makes it unique from other forms of media?

20 07 2011

Social media means the usage of web technology and mobile computer networking for social interactions between computer users. The development in computer network infrastructure, hardware processing capabilities, and the higher bandwidth provided by Internet Service Providers has made the internet capable of running more interactive and resource consuming applications, such as music and video. From the software side, new web technologies such as AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML), HTML 5, and etc. has caused web pages to update asynchronously and immediately as well as allow users to upload user-generated content such as videos, text, audio, and images. The technological advancements mentioned above all have a role in shaping the virtual socialization place in the internet that we call social media.

There are several types of social media. Social networks such as facebook and MySpace allow users to interact using chat, messages, status posts, comments as well as upload their photos and videos. Blogs such as WordPress allow users to write articles, and microblogs such as Twitter allow users to log their daily experiences in text limited by several characters in length. Collaborative sites such as Wikipedia allow users and communities to build together a free knowledge sharing encyclopedia in the internet. There are also social media that focus mainly on certain types of content, such as youtube, which allow users to share videos, and Flickr which allow users to share photos.

All the social media mentioned above have few things in common that distinguishes itself from traditional media such as TV, radio, and film:

  1. Social media has global reach. By using internet technology, one user can interact with other users throughout the world, except for users in countries who have a certain censorship regulations. In traditional media such as TV and radio, users can only receive broadcasts from a local or national station unless they subscribe for cable services.

  2. Social media provides user-generated content. Users can share photos, videos, or text in their social media.

  3. Social media allows a two-way interaction between users. Users can comment, post messages, and chat with other users. This is different compared to traditional media where users can only receive one way broadcasts and cannot send messages or give comments to information providers.

  4. Content in social media is editable. The content creator can drop, replace, or edit their videos, posts, etc.. In traditional media, once something is created, it is usually permanent and cannot be edited.

  5. Almost everyone with decent computer skills can use social media and upload their content. On the other hand, only professionals can produce radio or TV broadcasts.








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